Australia vs England, 2018: 4 Australians to watch out for
Australia have had a long list of ODI disappointments lately. And with each one of them, there has been an accompanying subtle excuse. In February 2017, they toured New Zealand without their premier batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner and lost 2-0 across the Tasman. June 2017, the rain followed them everywhere to majorly dent their chances as they endured their second consecutive Champions Trophy campaign going winless. In the limited-overs leg of their tour of India, they toured without their best bowlers in Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and lost 4-1.
The run of losses came to a full circle when they lost 4-1 to England, that too at home, with no inclement weather to frown upon and no personnel absences to rue. This has been their worst sequence in ODIs ever since the mid-eighties. Even in the times when the team underwent transitions in the 2005-2009 period, never did they look like a weakened outfit. But now, the World Cup champions find themselves ranked fifth.
With a revamped squad, Australia will take on England later this month in a series of five ODIs as the first step in their quest to retain the trophy. They have a long way to go, but the side they have assembled has a lot of fresh faces, some newly introduced, some comebacks and some bolters with just a taste of international cricket and all of them will be vying to do well and draft themselves into World Cup contention. Here are four of these to look out for:
In an ideal world, Short would have been in the Indigenous XI taking on the MCC XI tonight in the series opener of their commemorative tour of the UK. But a whirlwind turnaround mainly owing to his BBL exploits for Hobart Hurricanes ensured that he got picked into the T20 side and then the ODI side despite having just 12 List-A games in his résumé, that too spread over a time span of eight years.
Short's rise has a story worth telling, but we'd rather look into his ability to pick the fast bowlers off their lengths and his clean hitting from ball one, illustrated by swiveling pick-up strokes. After a strong start to his international career as he scored 196 runs in 5 innings in the Trans-Tasman tri-series striking at almost 150, Short lost his way on the slower surfaces he played on in the IPL, with four single-digit scores in seven digs. A return to swifter ecosystems will give Short hope to get back to his rollicking ways.
He also bowls leg-spin, just in case Australia need one of that kind to spook the Poms.